Congress Testimony Sees Execs Playing Defense.
That Was The Week, #42
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Editorial: My Take
If I was to sum up my take this week, it would be - we can't trust Mark Zuckerberg, Jack Dorsey, and Sundar Pichai with the future of the Internet. That said, we may have no choice. If I had to choose one, it would be Jack.
When the three tech titans zoomed in to Congress on Wednesday, they were confronted with Democrats who refused to engage in a real conversation to spotlight the politicized and weaponized nature of the hearing, called by and run by Republicans. They were also met by "free speech" Republicans like Ted Cruz, accusing the platforms of "biased" "censorship."
I felt sorry for Jack Dorsey - the most principled of the three. When his staff intervened in the New York Post story regarding Hunter Biden's laptop, they cut his legs off at the knees. @Jack believes in allowing all points of view that do not violate Twitter's policies to be left untouched - a point of view I concur with. But that said, once pulled, it is hard to not succumb to the request to remove more or the request to not pull at all. Cruz was all over the place. Claiming to believe in free expression, but asking Twitter to explain why it had not removed other Tweets from "dictators." In doing so, he accidentally compared Trump to the dictators - entirely appropriate, really. Dorsey stayed true to his beliefs.
Not so much, Mark Zuckerberg. We can sum up his message as "please regulate me," and yes, please "change 230". "I do not want to make censorship decisions but I am happy to comply if you guys do it." In saying that, he single-handedly gave the Republicans the keys to the Internet. That is a shame and will cost a high price in freedom reversed should Trump win on 3 November, or if Democrats take him up on his offer - which they will.
Sundar, oh poor Sundar. He must have been wondering why he was there at all. Safe to say he did not really influence events either way - possibly his goal.
The aftermath was a sense of wasted time. It is unlikely that the whole thing was anything other than a failed election stunt
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This week's video is here:
--News Of The Week 1: Politicians & Tech Titans
- Article on Joe and Hunter Biden Censored By The Intercept - Greenwald on Substack
- How Facebook, Google, Twitter Diverge in Defense of Tech’s Liability Shield - The Information, @NickBastone, @alexeheath and @csternopher
- Surprise! The Section 230 Hearing Wasn’t About Section 230 - Wired, @GiladEdelman
- Zuckerberg And Facebook Throw The Open Internet Under The Bus; Support Section 230 Reform - TechDirt, Mike Masnick, @mmasnick
- Where The Case Against Google Could Fall Apart - Big Tech, @Kantrowitz
- The DOJ Is Fighting Google on a Shifting Battlefield - Wired, @stevenlevy
--News Of The Week 2: All Change in Silicon Valley
- Seeing the present (of emerging micro-VC) clearly - Upd8tr, @oper8rio and @wsculley and @wintmead
- The Majority of Advertising Dollars are Now Being Spent Online - Visual Capitalist
- Why going public sooner is a sign of strength (and SPL is the opposite). - Bill Gurley
- Unicorn Market Cap & Industry Towns, 2020 - Elad Gil, @eladgil
- Venture Capital in 2020/2021 and “The Postmates Effect”. I.e., It’s OK to Be #2 or #3 Now - SaaStr, @jasonlk
- That new CARR smell - VC With Me, @hydeparkvp
--The Best of the Rest
- VCs poured capital into European startups in Q3, but early-stage dealmaking appeared to suffer — TechCrunch
- How Berlin has become a centre for European venture capital - The Economist
- EFF Files Comment Opposing the Department of Homeland Security’s Massive Expansion of Biometric Surveillance - Deeplinks, @sairahussain87, @lynch_jen, @njsobe4
- Here’s how fast a few dozen startups grew in Q3 2020 - TechCrunch
- 3 Biggest Mistakes Founder CEOs Make When Building that Crucial First Team - Battery Ventures, @alighodsi
Startup Of The Week: Bind Benefits
- How Bind Benefits’ CEO will use $105M to upend the health insurance market — MedCity News, @anujav89